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Classifying the Technical Effects

Classifying the Technical Effects

| On 01, Mar 1998

Gregory Frenklach

The Technical Effects Classification.

First of all let’s define what is an effect in the wide sense of this word.

Under “effect” we will understand the transformation which is characterized by its input, output and conditions, under which the input is transformed into the output.

è Output

If we speak about technical effects then we have taken as inputs and outputs the different kinds of energy or substances which are transformed under certain conditions.

Based on the above definition, the technical effects are classified as follows::

I. According to the object to be transformed.

1. Energy (field);

For example: mechanical, acoustic, thermal, chemical, electromagnetic etc.

2. Substance;

For example: solid, liquid, gas, mixture etc.

II. According to kind of the object transformation.

1. Qualitative changing;

For example: transformation of solid into liquid or magnetic force into mechanical force, etc. The “aggregate state changing” effect transforms a solid into a liquid or a solid into a liquid; the Seebeck effect transforms a temperature gradient into a voltage; the Faraday effect transforms mechanical motion of a permanent magnet in a loop of wire into a current in the wire.

2. Quantitative changing;

For example:

  • shape memory effect is transformation of “solid into solid” by heating/cooling;
  • thermal expannsion effect is also transformation of solid into solid;
  • centrifugal effect is transformation of mechanical into mechanical;
  • the effect of electrical current transformation by transformer converts electrical energy at one voltage to electrical energy at a different voltage

In order to search for the proper effect based on the input and output, two tables have to be built. The first has to use as key energy inputs / outputs and the second — substances inputs-outputs. The effect are looked with help of these tables.

Note: ->0 inputs and ->0 outputs have to be taken into account. (Editor’s note: ->0 means “negative” in the author’s notation)

For example:

For energy transformations table: acoustic input and ->0 output – the possible effects are foam or acoustic wave in anti-phase or ->0 input and thermal output – the possible effects are phase transitions or thermal radiation of the heated body.

For substance transformations table: gas input and ->0 output – the possible effect are absorption or ->0 input and gas output – the possible effect is gas hydrates.

Such a classification is well-known and described in the TRIZ literature (mainly in Russian) and it is used in order to search for the fit technical effect.

The Technical Effect Description.

Every effect, in addition to its usual description, also has to be described at least on five levels of tasks:

(Such an approach is partly described in G. S. Altshuller’s book “To find the Idea”).

  1. How one can receive the specific effect (condition, carriers etc.);
  2. How one can eliminate outputs of the specific effect (other effects or different tricks etc.);
  3. How one can control the parameters of the specific effect (to change in time, in space or in relations to other parameters) and effect’s “development”(effects’ joining into effects’ structures);
  4. How one can measure the parameters of the specific effect (other effects or tricks or formulas);
  5. Existence or lack of the “anti” effect for the every specific effect.

For example: for changing of the aggregate state by using the thermal energy we have to add:

  1. Let’s skip it, because everything is clear with conditions for changing of the aggregate state;
  2. Some of the methods are to increase the outer pressure or add a salt (if we change the aggregate state of the water) or maybe we can transport anti-flow of the thermal energy by using the heat pipes an so on.
  3. Using of the pressure in order to control the parameters of the phase transition.
  4. Using of vibrations. Usage of the magnetic liquids instead the usual one and using of the electromagnetic fields etc.
  5. There are a lot of methods of the temperature or volume’s change measurement. There are also effects which are connected with changing of the acoustic, chemical, electromagnetic etc. characteristics when aggregate state is changing.
  6. The anti-effect for changing aggregate state by using the thermal energy is liberation or absorption of the thermal energy by changing of the aggregate state of an object…

Very often in order to solve an inventive problem we need to link into chain the number of effects. Then we have to check compatibility of inputs and outputs for every effect in order to build the chain of the effects. That’s inputs / outputs of any effect have to be described:

  • according to qualitative types of input/out put;
  • according to quantitative volume of input/output;
  • according to input/output structure in space;
  • according to input/output structure in time;

The work with such a classification can be the following:

1. If the problem is a function performance:

Define type of the function:

a) changing of the function’s object;

b) measurement/indication of the function’s object;

If a) – find proper effect(s) according to type of the output energy or substance with help of the energy or substance transformations table.

If b) determine the effect the process to be measured is based on.

For example: we need to indicate the time point of boiling — so the process to be measured is boiling. Thus we have to find the effect the boiling is based on

2. If the problem is elimination of an UDE:

Define kind of the UDE (UDE = undesirable effect):

a) low efficiency of the function performing;

b) a harmful factor;

If a) – find the effect the function is based on.

For example: what is the effect the function of the vibrato-transporter (if theUDE is low efficiency of this function performance) is based on?

If b) – find the effect the harmful factor is based on.

For example: what is the effect the under-water wing surface destroying (if the UDE is destroying of the surface of the under-water wing) is based on?

If effects are described as suggested above – the right determination of the effect = the solution’s recommendation.


  1. G. Altshuller. Creativity as an Exact Science. NY. Gordon & Breach Science Publishers, 1984.
  2. G. Altshuller. To find Idea. Novosibirsk. Nauka, 1986 (in Russian)
  3. Daring Formulas of the Creativity. Editor: A. Selutsky. Petrozavodsk. Kareliya, 1987 (in Russian)